Blogging from A to Z: G is for “Golden Years”
I get up on the tiny stage, grip my unlit ciggie between my index and middle fingers and place my hand on the mic. Just like I’ve seen Bowie do in a thousand videos.
“Hey, pretty boy,” some jerk yells from the back. “Do Free Bird.”
I have no idea where it comes from, but I lean into the mic just a little bit and, in my best working class London accent, say two words.
And then Bill starts my backing tracks.
I nail Golden Years, with its crazy vocal leaps and funky beat. I move just like I’ve watched Bowie do, all knees and hands. I can tell by the way the biker mamas are grooving on the dance floor that I’m going to win. – From my novella, The Rock Star in the Mirror (Or, How David Bowie Ruined My Life)
Song: Golden Years
Album: Station to Station (1976)
Personnel: David Bowie (lead and backing vocals, acoustic guitar), Carlos Alomar (electric guitar), Earl Slick (electric guitar), Harry Maslin (melodica), George Murray (bass guitar), Dennis Davis (drums), Warren Peace (percussion, backing vocals)
What I love about this track: Station to Station is, in my opinion, one of Bowie’s finest albums. It’s as though he never sets a foot wrong, from start to finish. “Golden Years” is the hit from this record, but it’s also of a piece with the rest of the work: gutsy, a little bit dark, and still a great dance song. Of course, there’s also that full octave vocal leap, demonstrating Bowie’s range.
Trivia: Warren Peace is the stage name of Geoff MacCormack, who was one of Bowie’s classmates at Bromley Technical High School for Boys, London.
Why I chose this video: Not only was the Serious Moonlight tour the first of the six times I saw Bowie live (so there’s some sentimental attachment), but the tour also featured both Carlos Alomar and Earl Slick in the line-up. Since they were on the original recording, I decided this was the way to go.
Want your own copy of The Rock Star in the Mirror (Or, How David Bowie Ruined My Life)? Here are the blurb and purchase links:
Joe is a small-town Oregon guy. He’s madly in love with Lynnie – who has a huge crush on David Bowie. Joe will do almost anything to get Lynnie’s attention, but there are always consequences.
Amazon (click through on this link and you’ll automatically be taken to the page for your country)
Audible (the book is brilliantly narrated by Matt Haynes)
Chapters Indigo (Canada)
iBookstore (audio edition also available)
Kobo (available for 2400 SuperPoints if you’re part of the program)